Seaford Art Teachers To Embark On Cultural Immersion

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Seaford School District art teachers Jamie LaSota, left, and Melinda DiGiovanna will travel to China in May for a week-long art and culture program. (Photo by Seaford School District)

Two art teachers in the Seaford School District are getting ready for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to experience art and culture overseas. Melinda DiGiovanna and Jamie LaSota will travel to China from May 23 to 30, taking part in a program through the Hua Quan Village Art and Culture Foundation.

DiGiovanna teaches at Seaford High School and LaSota is at the high school and Seaford Manor Elementary School. They will be part of a 20-person team under the guidance of Seung Lee, the director of fine arts at LIU Post. The teachers are part of a graduate-level drawing class with Professor Lee, who extended the opportunity to his students to join him on the fully-funded trip.

They will spend a week becoming fully immersed in Chinese culture with leading artists, musicians and other experts, while taking classes taught by village residents including Tai chi, Chinese medicine, calligraphy, painting and ceramics. DiGiovanna and LaSota will also participate in a community art project with local children and will view the vast 250-meter long Miracle Mural Project.

“The main goal of this trip is sharing art and sharing ideas,” DiGiovanna said “We will bring everything back to our department and our students. Our excitement from the trip will hopefully just flood into our lessons.”

The teachers plan to use the experience to create a district-wide arts and culture night next year, highlighting student work. They will collaborate with the music and world language departments to present culturally based projects and presentations. Additionally, LaSota said she expects the trip will inspire new ideas for Manor’s annual International Week.

Their visit to the Miracle Mural Project will serve as inspiration for the upstart Seaford High School mural club. The art teachers said that goal is to paint one mural per year in the district, beginning at the high school. In four years, each school would have a new creation. High school mural club students would spearhead the project with support from students, staff and parents at each building. They are currently in the process of identifying possible locations.

“It would be a good way to get the entire school and the community involved,” LaSota said.

As teachers, DiGiovanna and LaSota say the look to lead by example

in encouraging students to be open-minded and have a willingness to embrace new experiences. They are excited about the limitless possibilities the trip will create.

“It’s a unique opportunity,” said art department Chairman Curtis Tripoli. “As artists, the inspiration that they’re going to bring back is immeasurable.

-Submitted by the Seaford School District

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